June 2002

June 30th Late or early migrants continue to trickle through at the Bill, where there were 2 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Curlew, a Willow Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher today. Seawatching there produced just 45 Common Scoter and a few Manx Shearwaters. June 29th A Nuthatch - a real Portland rarity with just five previous records - was the unexpected highlight today at the Royal Naval Cemetery at Verne Common. A lone Spotted Flycatcher was also there, whilst elsewhere the only reports were of a Grey Heron, a Chiffchaff and a few Sand Martins at the Bill. Seawatching at the Bill produced nothing more than 8 Common Scoter, 5 Manx Shearwaters and a Sandwich Tern. June 28th Just a handful of reports from the Bill today. On the sea another 150 Manx Shearwaters passed through, along with 58 Common Scoter, 3 Sandwich and 3 commic Terns, and an Arctic Skua. A northward movement of 140 Swifts was noteworthy, but the only new arrivals on the land itself were a Blackcap and a Willow Warbler. June 27th Another fly-over Bee-eater at Weston in the morning continued the extraordinary run of records of this species in June. New arrivals otherwise included 2 Chiffchaffs and a Grey Heron at the Bill, and a Spotted Flycatcher at Weston. There was a good evening passage of 340 Manx Shearwaters past the Bill, and a total of 8 Balearic Shearwaters were again logged there through the day. June 26th The sea produced most of what little interest there was today: small numbers of Manx Shearwaters were moving east off the Bill and a total of 8 Balearic Shearwaters passed west there through the day. On the land the only birds of note were a Grey Heron and a Blackcap at the Bill. June 25th Odds and sods at the Bill today included a Grey Heron, a Curlew, a Grey Wagtail, a Robin and a Willow Warbler, with seawatching there producing 148 Manx and 4 Balearic Shearwaters, 100 Common Scoter and 2 Sandwich Terns. June 24th The run of Bee-eaters continued with a heard-only fly-over at the Obs at midday. New migrants on the land included a Hobby and a Chiffchaff at the Bill and a Spotted Flycatcher at Southwell, whilst seawatching at the Bill produced 72 Common Scoter, 32 Manx Shearwaters and 2 Curlew. June 23rd Highlight today was another Bee-eater - the fifth in a fortnight - that flew south over the Obs and on out to sea during the morning. That aside, the only other reports were of 15 Manx and a Balearic Shearwater, 12 Common Scoter and an Arctic Skua off the Bill, and a lone Curlew on the land there. June 22nd Balearic Shearwaters became more conspicuous off the Bill today: of the total of 7 seen, at least 2 lingered offshore for some while feeding amongst a fishing flock of Gannets and gulls. Also off the Bill there were a few Manx Shearwaters and 32 Common Scoter. On the land the best birds were 2 Curlews, 2 Reed Warblers, a Whinchat, a Robin and a Spotted Flycatcher at the Bill, and another Reed Warbler at Verne Common. June 21st Still very little happening. A Whinchat and the first dispersing juvenile Chiffchaff (this species doesn't breed at the Bill) were the only noteworthy birds on the land at the Bill. On the sea there were the first signs of autumn Common Scoter passage, with a total of 24 flying west past the the Bill.  June 20th Two Curlews and a Grey Heron were the only new arrivals on the land at the Bill, and the sea there produced just 2 Manx and a Balearic Shearwater. June 19th The only reports were from the Bill where there were a few Manx Shearwaters offshore and a Sand Martin flying south. June 18th Another very quiet day, with the only migrants reported being 2 Blackcaps, a Reed Warbler and a Pied Flycatcher at the Bill (like several of the 'new' migrants trapped in recent days, the Pied Flycatcher was a female with a conspicuous brood-patch - presumably a failed breeder already moving south). Two Great Skuas and a Balearic Shearwater were the only noteworthy reports from seawatching at the Bill. June 17th With thick fog blanketing the island for most of the day birding was never easy and only a handful of late migrants were discovered. Three more Reed Warblers were at the Bill, where there was also a Mistle Thrush and a Blackcap. Seawatching there produced 11 Manx Shearwaters and 10 Common Scoter. June 16th There was no sign of any Rose-coloured Starlings today and the only common migrants noted were 4 Reed Warblers, a Garden Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher at the Bill. Offshore, several Balearic Shearwaters were reported flying west past the Bill. June 15th Two of the Rose-coloured Starlings were still at Southwell today although they were often rather elusive. Yet another Bee-eater put in a brief appearance over Southwell and the Obs before it left out to sea, and another new arrival was a Quail heard calling and seen briefly between Barleycrates Lane and Reap Lane in the afternoon. A late Lesser Redpoll was the pick of the commoner migrants at the Bill, where there were also 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Curlew and a Chiffchaff. Elsewhere, 2 Canada Geese flew over Barleycrates Lane.


Rose-coloured Starlings - Southwell, June 14th 2002 © Martin Cade

  June 14th Rose-coloured Starling remained very much the bird of the moment, with a remarkable 3 together found at Southwell late in the afternoon. At least 10 Reed Warblers were dotted around the Bill, Southwell and Weston, but the only other commoner migrants about the area were a Curlew and a Blackcap at the Bill, and a trickle of Swifts and hirundines moving north up the West Cliffs. Seawatching at the Bill produced 7 Common Scoter, 2 Mute Swans, a Balearic Shearwater and an Arctic Skua.


Canada Geese - Portland Bill, June 13th 2002 © Martin Cade

  June 13th A Rose-coloured Starling - one of the previous birds or a new individual? - showed up briefly at Avalanche Road, Southwell, today, and other scarcer visitors included 18 Canada Geese and a Mediterranean Gull at the Bill and a Tree Sparrow at Barleycrates Lane. Commoner migrants included 3 Reed Warblers, a Sedge Warbler and a Turtle Dove around Weston and Southwell, and a Turtle Dove and a Garden Warbler at the Bill. Manx Shearwaters were still off the Bill in fair numbers, but the sea otherwise produced just 5 Common Scoter. June 12th Common migrants continue to trickle through, but today was the first rarity-free day for over a week. A few hirundines were still moving north up the West Cliffs, and single Hobbies passed through at the Bill and Weston. The only grounded migrant of note at the Bill was a lone Spotted Flycatcher, whilst tardy waders at Ferrybridge included 10 Sanderling and 5 Dunlin.



Bee-eater - Portland Bill, June 11th 2002 © Martin Cade

  June 11th The day got off to a cracking start with a Bee-eater on wires between the Obs and the Coastguard Cottages for a few minutes early in the morning; unfortunately it was downhill all the way after that, and the only new migrants found in the Bill area were a Blackcap and a Willow Warbler. Offshore, Manx Shearwaters remained conspicuous but the only other noteworthy sighting was of a lone Great Skua. June 10th The Rose-coloured Starlings couldn't be found today and it left to another fly-over Bee-eater at the Obs - the second in three days - to claim the honours as bird of the day; unfortunately, like the previous bird, it didn't linger. In very windy weather the only other new arrival on the land was a lone Willow Warbler at the Obs. Interest was maintained on the sea with 9 Great and 5 Arctic Skuas, as well as plenty of Manx Shearwaters, off the Bill, and a further 7 Great and 3 Arctic Skuas at Chesil Cove. June 9th The 2 Rose-coloured Starlings  were still present at the Bill early in the morning but, after several hours of heavy rain either side of midday, they couldn't be found again throughout the late afternoon and evening. The only commoner migrants found before the onset of the rain were a couple of Spotted Flycatchers at the Obs. In increasingly windy weather Manx Shearwaters passed the Bill in good numbers, and there were also 21 Common Scoter, 4 Arctic and 4 Great Skuas and 3 Balearic Shearwaters there. However, much stronger sea passage was reported from Chesil Cove where the remarkable day-tally included 42 Arctic, 14 Pomarine and 7 Great Skuas.



Rose-coloured Starlings - Portland Bill, June 8th 2002 © Martin Cade

  June 8th The 2 Rose-coloured Starlings showed well all day at the Bill, and there was more excitement there in the afternoon when a fly-through Bee-eater was seen from the Obs. New common migrants at the Bill included 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Reed Warblers, a Lapwing, a Garden Warbler and a Willow Warbler.



Rose-coloured Starling - Portland Bill, June 7th 2002 © Martin Cade

  June 7th Once again the Rose-coloured Starling proved tricky to catch up with and was not seen until mid-afternoon when it turned up in the Strips at the Bill; remarkably, it was then joined by a second individual but both birds soon left the local Starling flock and were not seen again before dusk. The only other reports from the area were of 3 Spotted Flycatchers and a Chiffchaff at the Bill, small numbers of Manx Shearwaters offshore there and an Arctic Skua and a Black Swan at Chesil Cove. June 6th The Rose-coloured Starling put in a brief early appearance at the Bill, but it was then not seen again until the evening when it turned up in Southwell (where many of the local Starlings gather to roost). Late migrants around the Bill area included 4 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Chiffchaffs and a Sand Martin, and seawatching there produced small numbers of Manx Shearwaters, 26 Common Scoter and 3 Arctic Skuas.


Rose-coloured Starling - Portland Bill, June 5th 2002 © Martin Cade

  June 5th Although the Bluethroat had moved on, rarity interest was maintained with the discovery of a Rose-coloured Starling that showed well in the Strips at the Bill during the afternoon; a Quail was also heard calling briefly in the same area. Commoner migrants included 3 Chiffchaffs, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, a Lapwing, a Turtle Dove and a Garden Warbler at the Bill, whilst waders at Ferrybridge included 13 Dunlin, 3 Sanderling and 2 Knot.



Bluethroat - Barleycrates Lane, June 4th 2002 © James Lidster and Martin Cade

  June 4th There was precious little change in the dismal common migrant situation, but this was more than compensated for when a Bluethroat was discovered at Barleycrates Lane; it showed well there throughout the afternoon and was trapped and ringed in the evening (more in-hand photographs). Commoner fare elsewhere included 4 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Wheatears, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap around the Bill area and Weston. A Mediterranean Gull and an Arctic Skua were the only birds to show from seawatching at the Bill. June 3rd The motley selection of migrants today included 6 Whimbrel, 5 Swifts, a Grey Heron, a Wheatear, a Whinchat and a Chiffchaff at the Bill, and 3 Spotted Flycatchers at Southwell. Seawatching at the Bill produced just 13 Common Scoter and a few Manx Shearwaters.


Rock Pipit - Portland Bill, June 2nd 2002 © John Reeves

  June 2nd Once again, little to report. The few migrants on the land included a couple of Reed Warblers, a Hobby, a Yellow Wagtail and a Sedge Warbler at the Bill, whilst seawatching there produced just a handful of Manx Shearwaters and commic Terns, and a single Common Scoter. At Ferrybridge, where passage waders have been absent for some days, 13 Sanderling and 4 Dunlin were new arrivals, although the best sighting there was of a pair of Garganey flying over. June 1st Slower all round today. Late migrants were limited to a Turtle Dove and a Spotted Flycatcher at Weston and a couple of Chiffchaffs at the Bill, whilst the only oddities were a Tree Sparrow and a Lesser Redpoll at Barleycrates Lane. In a stiff easterly breeze, seawatching at the Bill produced just 4 Common Scoter, 10 Manx Shearwaters and 4 commic Terns.